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Leiopython albertisii (PETERS & DORIA, 1878)

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Higher TaxaPythonidae, Henophidia, Pythonoidea, Alethinophidia, Serpentes, Squamata (snakes)
Common NamesE: D’Albertis python, Northern White-lipped Python
G: Weißlippen-Python
E: Huon Peninsula whitelip python [huonensis] 
SynonymLiasis albertisii PETERS & DORIA 1878
Leiopython gracilis HUBRECHT 1879
Liasis albertisii — BOULENGER 1893: 80
Liasis albertisi — DE ROOIJ 1917: 18
Leiopython albertisii — KLUGE 1993
Morelia albertisii — UNDERWOOD & STIMSON 1990: 602
Liasis fuscus albertisii — STULL 1935: 390
Liasis fuscus albertisi — CAPOCACCIA 1961
Bothrochilus albertisii — COGGER et al. 1983
Liasis albertisi — TRUTNAU 1984
Leiopython albertisii — MCDIARMID, CAMPBELL & TOURÉ 1999: 166
Leiopython albertisii — COGGER 2000: 605
Leiopython albertisii barkeri HOSER 2000 (nomen nudum fide SCHLEIP 2008)
Bothrochilus albertisii — RAWLINGS et al. 2008
Leiopython biakensis SCHLEIP 2008: 661
Leiopython huonensis SCHLEIP 2008: 660
Leiopython albertisi barkerorum — HOSER 2009
Leiopython albertisii — SCHLEIP & O’SHEA 2010
Bothrochilus albertisii — REYNOLDS et al. 2014
Bothrochilus biakensis — REYNOLDS et al. 2014
Bothrochilus huonensis — REYNOLDS et al. 2014
Leiopython albertisii — WALLACH et al. 2014: 365
Leiopython biakensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 366
Leiopython huonensis — WALLACH et al. 2014: 366
Leiopython biakensis — BARKER et al. 2015
Leiopython huonensis — BARKER et al. 2015
Leiopython albertisii — BARKER et al. 2015
Leiopython albertisii — COGGER 2014: 821
Liasis albertisii — KUNZ 2017
Leiopython albertisii — NATUSCH et al. 2020
Leiopython albertisii — ESQUERRÉ et al. 2020 
DistributionPapua New Guinea (Bismarck Archipelago, Normanby Island [M. Lagerqvist, pers. comm.]; Milne Bay Province: S end Sewa Bay, 10.03858°S, 150.97345°E, 54 m elevation; Northern Province: SW slope Mt. Trafalgar, 9.2238°S, 149.1561°E, 187 m elevation [Kraus 2013]), Australia (northern islands of Torres Strait), Indonesia (Salawati, Biak, New Guinea: Irian Jaya)

Type locality: “Kapaor fra i Papua Onin” [Onin Peninsula, Irian Jaya, Indonesia], “near Andai” and “near Andai and Kapaor” fide KLUGE (1993).

biakensis: Indonesia (Biak Island); Type locality: Biak, Schouten Islands

huonensis: Papua New Guinea; Type locality: about 16 km west of Lae  
TypesSyntypes: MSNG 29989, Guinea, collected by O. Beccari, 1875; MSNG 29890, Kapaor, Onin Peninsula, New Guinea, collected by L.M. d'Albertis, 1872.
Holotype: RMNH 10193, female, Museum of Natural History, Leiden, The Netherlands, 1952–1953, donated by Fleet Air Arm Royal Netherlands Navy. Holotype lost in 2013 fide Esther Dondorp, pers. comm. 28 Jan 2019, but paratype RMNH RENA.10194 still extant) [biakensis]
Holotype: AMNH 95535, adult female, collected by L. van Royen in 1964. Labeled: ‘‘Gift to H. M. van Deusen’’; SVL 940 mm; tail 155 mm; head 37 mm [huonensis] 
DiagnosisDiagnosis: Leiopython albertisii is distinguishable from Leiopython hoserae, Leiopython bennettorum, and Leiopython huonensis sp. nov. by the presence of two pairs of parietals. A pair of large scales often separated from the median line by one or more small interparietal follows the anterior pair (Fig. 2A). It further differs from the former two species and from Leiopython fredparkeri sp. nov. by the presence of whitish postocular spots, and can easily be distinguished from Leiopython bennettorum in the number of loreals and prefrontals (Table 3), the average number of postoculars), dorsal midbody rows, ventrals, and subcaudal scales. Leiopython albertisii further differs from Leiopython hoserae and from Leiopython fredparkeri in lighter dorsal color and in having a yellowish flank (Parker, 1982; Barker and Barker, 1994; O’Shea, 1996, 2007), smaller average body size in hatchlings and adults, and additionally from Leiopython hoserae by molecular evidence (see Fig. 4). Leiopython albertisii can be distinguished from Leiopython biakensis sp. nov. by higher average subcaudal (71.5 +/- 2.85; range = 65–79, N = 30 vs. 67.5 +/3.54; range = 65–70, N = 2), and supralabial scale counts (12.9 +/- 0.28; range = 12–13, N = 30 vs. 11.8 +/- 0.35; range = 11–12, N = 2) along with a higher number of supralabials entering the eye (3.0 +/- 0.18; range = 2–3, N = 30 vs. 2, N = 2) [SCHLEIP 2008]. 
CommentSynonymy: HOSER (2000) described several new subspecies of Leiopython albertisii and a new species, Leiopython hoserae. However, due to their vague description we list them as synonyms of Leiopython albertisii. For example, Leiopython albertisii barkeri is diagnosed as “separated from L. albertisii albertisii by the mutually exclusive distribution and by analysis of mitochondrial DNA [of which no data is provided]. Ventral counts for this species are near the lower limit for the range for New Guinea L. albertisii.” L. a. bennetti is described as follows: “Essentially similar in most respects to L. albertisii albertisii from which it can usually be differentiated by its higher loreal count. L. albertisii albertisii usually has a single loreal in broad contact with the prefrontal. The three specimens listed above are typical for their subspecies in that they have two or three loreals on each side. Specimens of L. albertisii albertisii usually have a single pair of elongated prefrontal scutes with their median suture three or more times as long as the suture between the internasals. However in L. albertsis bennetti it is not unusual for there to be a pair of small lateral prefrontals, broadly separated from each other by the median prefrontals but in contact with the frontal posteriorly and with the more posterior loreal anteriorly”. Natusch et al. 2020 synonymized Leiopython biakensis and L. huonensis with L. albertisii (without even mentioning their relationship to Bothrochilus).

In Hoser's (2000a) python paper, the name barkeri requires emendation to barkerorum, and bennetti to bennettorum, as the subspecies were each named after two people (WÜSTER et al. 2001).

Type species: Leiopython gracilis HUBRECHT 1879 is the type species of the genus Leiopython HUBRECHT 1879. 
Etymologynamed in honor of Italian naturalist Luigi Maria D’Albertis, who made a name for himself in New Guinea.

L. biakensis was named after the type locality.

L. huonensis was named after the locality where this species is found, the Huon Peninsula at the east coast of PNG. 
  • Barker, D. G., Barker, T. M., Davis, M. A. and Schuett, G. W. 2015. A review of the systematics and taxonomy of Pythonidae: an ancient serpent lineage. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 175 (1): 1-19; doi: 10.1111/zoj.12267 - get paper here
  • Beolens, Bo; Michael Watkins, and Michael Grayson 2011. The Eponym Dictionary of Reptiles. Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, USA - get paper here
  • Boulenger, G.A. 1893. Catalogue of the snakes in the British Museum (Nat. Hist.) I. London (Taylor & Francis), 448 pp. - get paper here
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  • Esquerré, Damien; Stephen Donnellan, Ian G Brennan, Alan R Lemmon, Emily Moriarty Lemmon, Hussam Zaher, Felipe G Grazziotin, J Scott Keogh 2020. Phylogenomics, Biogeography, and Morphometrics Reveal Rapid Phenotypic Evolution in Pythons After Crossing Wallace’s Line. Systematic Biology, 69 (6): 1039–1051 - get paper here
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  • Natusch, Daniel J.D. et al. 2020. Phylogenomics, biogeography and taxonomic revision of New Guinean pythons (Pythonidae, Leiopython) harvested for international trade. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, - get paper here
  • O'Shea,M. 1996. A Guide to the Snakes of Papua New Guinea. Independent Publishing, Port Moresby, xii + 239 pp. - get paper here
  • Peters, Wilhem Carl Hartwig and G. Doria. 1878. Catalogo dei retilli e dei batraci raccolti da O. Beccari, L. M. D'Alberts e A. A. Bruijn. nella sotto-regione Austro-Malese. Annali del Museo Civico de Storia Naturale di Genova. ser. 1, 13: 323-450 - get paper here
  • Reynolds, R. Graham; Matthew L. Niemiller, Liam J. Revell 2014. Toward a Tree-of-Life for the boas and pythons: Multilocus species-level phylogeny with unprecedented taxon sampling. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 71: 201–213 [published online in 2013] - get paper here
  • Schleip, Wulf D 2008. Revision of the Genus Leiopython Hubrecht 1879 (Serpentes: Pythonidae) with the Redescription of Taxa Recently Described by Hoser (2000) and the Description of New Species. Journal of Herpetology 42 (4): 645 - get paper here
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